Not to rain on President Obama’s parade, but the world is a dangerous place. America cannot afford to place “hope” above reality when it comes to its foreign policy. Although the U.S. faces many overseas challenges, there was barely any mention in President Obama’s inauguration speech of what America’s role in the world will be under a second Obama Administration.
Noticeably missing from the President’s speech was any mention of a resurgent al-Qaeda in North Africa, the fact that Iran is closer than ever to acquiring a nuclear weapon, the failure of the Russian “reset,” or any mention that North Korean missiles can now reach the U.S. West Coast.
Even though his speech was slightly more than 2,000 words long and 20 minutes in length, the commander in chief could only bring himself to offer brief and passing praise to the members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, there was no mention whatsoever of America’s fallen heroes, America’s veterans, or the tens of thousands of American families who have sacrificed so much since 9/11. It was almost as if the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had not taken place.
In his address Obama proclaimed: “A decade of war is now ending.” Presumably, he was referring to Afghanistan—although he didn’t once mention that country, where 68,000 U.S. troops are still fighting, by name. Ignoring a war does not mean that its problems will go away.
After almost four years of the Obama presidency, not only is America’s standing in the world weaker; the world is also more dangerous than before. With the President’s recent slate of nominations for top foreign and security jobs—Senator John Kerry (D–MA) for Secretary of State, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R–NE) for Secretary of Defense, and White House Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan for director of the CIA—there is no reason to expect that four more years of an Obama presidency will change this.
Yesterday, as President Obama addressed the crowds assembled along the National Mall, America’s friends and foes needed to hear what the U.S. role in the world will be under a second Obama presidency. Instead, they got empty rhetoric and flowery words that bear little resemblance to reality.
Sadly, for America and her allies, the President’s speech, combined with the Kerry, Hagel, and Brennan nominations, signals more of the same in what can only be described as a failed foreign policy.